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Music Review - `By the Risin’ of the Sea` by James Kahn (lz)

James Kahn -- By the Risin’ of the Sea   (click on image to watch )

 25 May 2022



James Kahn has been called a renaissance man, and for good reason. A writer and producer for a number of high profile television series —“Melrose Place” and “Star Trek: Voyager” chief among them — as well as the author of such popular novels as “Return of the Jedi” and “The Goonies,” he’s adept at sharing spellbinding stories that manage to both entertain and enthrall. And while lately he’s put his focus on making music, he remains focused on offerings that are both creative and compelling in equal measure.


Kahn’s latest undertaking of a musical nature goes by a telling title. By the Risin’ of the Sea: Shanties for Our Time taps into a centuries’ old tradition, one shared by seafaring souls ever since mankind began crossing the oceans, facing nature’s fury and contending with the elements in the process. Mostly, it was a way of passing the time while recounting their exploits and creating a communal bond.

That’s the spirit shared here, but these tales that are told are flush with gravitas and alarm. Mostly conveyed through a-cappella reads and scant traditional instrumentation as accompaniment, the songs — “The Risin’ of the Sea,” “In the Covid Times,” “2020:Ship of Fools” and “No More A’Whalin’” in particular — sound the alarm on an array of modern perils, including threats to the environment, the Covid crisis and the populist’s general resistance to the plight of refugees. Kahn takes the lead vocals, while a chorus of tenor, baritone and bass voices sing of that happenstance in harmony. It’s a meaningful and moving mix of sound and suggestion, imbued with emotion but inspired by the need to take immediate action in order to protect the planet.

Craft and creativity have long been part of Kahn’s grab bag of resources, and By the Risin’ of the Sea offers yet another example of the way he’s able to utilize those resources for the sake of a forthright mission. One can only hope that the lessons shared here are eventually learned.



 Lee Zimmerman


Lee Zimmerman

To Read All of Lee's Reviews, Click Here



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